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in their words

community members share what it means to be Black in Durham today and messages for change “I am a 55-year-old black man living in fear every day in America”

I

am a 55-year-old Black man living in Durham, North Carolina. I am scared. I wake up scared. I drive to work scared. And I go to bed at night scared. But fear is not new to me, because I am a 55-year-old Black man living in America. I am not a “thug.” I am a business owner, who happens to be Black. Every morning, I leave my wife and drive 13.4 miles to my business at 3 in the morning on the Durham Freeway. Every morning, I wonder if I will be able to come home to my family. Every morning, I wonder if an officer will stop me on the side of the road. Will that officer feel threatened by a Black man driving a large car at 3 in the morning on 147? Will he/she feel there is no way I am driving to a legitimate place of employment before daylight on a weekday? Will I be labeled a “thug”? When I am inside my business, there is no color. I do not see color, nor do my clients. For more than five years, I have owned a

TY RO NE T. I RBY I S THE O WN E R O F T RAI NI NG

FAC I L I TY T HE C HOIC E P E RF O RM A NCE C E NT ER. H E R ECENTLY H E L P E D F O UND THE

TO G E T HER W E STA ND N C G RA S S RO OTS

M OV E M E N T, “ I NSPI R ED B Y T H E S E N S E LESS

V I O L E N C E AG A I NST THE B L AC K CO M M U NI TY I N A M E RI CA .” I T S VI SI ON

I S TO C RE AT E PEAC EF U L D E M O N ST RAT IONS TO E D UCAT E ,

CO M M UN I CATE AND

C RE AT E AWA R ENESS OF RAC I A L I N J USTI CE AS

I T RE L AT E S TO B LACK L I V E S I N A M E RI CA. F O L LO W O N

I N STAG RA M AT

@TOGETHERWESTANDNC.

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august 2020

business that is as diverse as any in the city. But I understand once I step out of that building, the world immediately changes, as do I. No longer am I in control of my environment or how I am perceived. I was born and raised in the BedfordStuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, in the 1970s. I attended elementary and junior high school in Flatbush. I learned early in life how to run while being chased 12 blocks by two white teenagers from South Shore High School on a moped. Racial tension and riots were a norm in my junior high school, and that was 40 years ago. Some people are amazed at what happened to George Floyd. I am not amazed; I am numb. African Americans understand for every one incident like this that is filmed, there are [many] that are not. For every incident that another Black person is humiliated, detained, assaulted and killed, you do not hear about many more. Why did it take the killers of Ahmaud Arbery three months to be arrested when the evidence via videotape was readily available? Arbery was shot and killed on Feb. 23, 2020, and Travis and Gregory McMichael were finally arrested on May 7, 2020. It took almost a week for Minnesota to decide to issue a warrant for the arrest of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who had his knee on the neck of a handcuffed George Floyd on the concrete for almost nine minutes. Why did it take several days to charge the officer with the murder of Floyd when there were dozens of witnesses? And why weren’t the officers who stood by and allowed it to happen also not [quickly] charged as accessories to murder?

Profile for Shannon Media

Durham Magazine August 2020  

The Best of Durham

Durham Magazine August 2020  

The Best of Durham

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